The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olaywola Adeyemi has advocated the need to reform the current curriculum on religious studies in schools.
The reform, he said, should include comparative religious studies to expose students and pupils to basic principles of Christianity, Islam and traditional religion.
This, he added, would entrench religious harmony and moral instructions, the Nation reports.
Alaafin, in his Ramadan message pointed out that all religious communities must understand that there is no alternative to inter-faith dialogue, as there can never be a universal religion or an exclusive society for adherents of a particular religion.
Admonishing Nigerians not to perceive religious diversity as a barrier to human relations and development, but rather a tool or resource for national development, The royal father noted that religious faithful should, therefore, realise the fact that religious tolerance and harmony are both legally sanctioned and socially inevitable, as the world can never be composed of one religion or culture.
Accordingly, he stated that, whereas every religious group has the right to uninhibited religious practice, this must be done with commensurate or reciprocal respect for the rights of other faithful to practise their own religious duties; provided that such does not constitute any derogation to the right of others to observe their own rituals.
Oba Adeyemi said: ‘’This desirable scenario of religious harmony can be achieved in Nigeria only through the establishment and sustenance of a neo-religious educational praxis that would generate a culture and orientation of multi-religiosity in our children, as well as a commensurate programme of re-orientation of the adult population. Hitherto, the dominant model of religious education in Nigeria has been faith-oriented and overwhelmed by religious indoctrination and dogma’’.
‘’Religious education is used to get people to embrace Christianity or Islam, rather than as a process or formation for religious tolerance and dialogue. Consequently, most children and youths are educated within this framework and are thus inclined to adopting a blind faith. This religious pedagogic gives little room for inter-faith understanding and harmony; hence religious intolerance is rife even among school children’’.
While calling on Muslims in the country to see the period of Ramadan as abstinence from sins and all acts inimical to peace and development in the country, Oba Adeyemi counselled all religious communities to educate their leaders or preachers on the need for religious harmony and the toleration of other faiths.
‘’While also educating their leaders on the need to keep their sermons within the realm of moderation and modesty, there is also need to strengthen inter-faith dialogue at the national, state and local levels in order to prevent future manifestations of religious violence,” Alaafin said.